28 March 2013

winchester again

Arriving at Winchester college,* we had the great privileged of being given a tour by a graduate of the school, who is actually one of our tutors. As the school upon which Eaton College was modeled after, it is one of the most prestigious in the United Kingdom. As all the students are currently on holiday, we were able to poke about in corners without causing a disruption.

By far the most beautiful thing we saw there was this stunning fan vaulted ceiling in their chapel. I'd never seen one painted before and the effect is stunning even in the photograph.


Also in their chapel is some of the best woodwork from the 1400s that is still to be seen.


Only a few hundred yards down the road from the front gate of the college sat Jane Austen's last house where she wrote her last novel. Seeing it was perfectly timed for me as I just finished reading that novel, Persuasion for my long paper.


Not much further down from there was Winchester Cathedral, where Austen is buried. While the marker over her body doesn't mention her literary career at all, another was placed next to it on the wall which is considerably grander and focuses on her writing.


By far the grandest we have been in as of yet, Winchester Cathedral is the longest in in the world and, like St. Cross Hospital, is a mix of varying styles.

Here are the fan vaulted ceilings and delicate vertical lines. These are particularly interesting examples because of their thickness. They were in fact originally square and incredibly thick Norman pillars but they were carved to match the newest styles.


Here is a section of the chapel that is still Norman in design. Chunkier and sturdier. Unfortunately, the Norman architecture didn't end up being as sturdy in practice as it is in looks. Most Norman towers started to fall over around the sixteenth century due to structural problems.


Here is a chantry chapel in the decorated style and another bit of ceiling that I just happen to like.


My absolute favorite bit of the cathedral though was the crypt, which was flooded. The beautiful thing about this particular crypt though is that it contains a statue by Antony Gormley which was placed with the flooding in mind.


We then headed to view King Arthur's table which you can google and find pictures of if you'd like. I was more interested in the stained glass that hangs in five pannels across one of the walls of the hall.


*high school, most commonly a boarding school situation.

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